Tiger iucn status Category: Endangered

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Tiger IUCN Status Category: Endangered

Panthera tigris (Linnaeus, 1758) CITES Appendix: I


The tiger has a distinctive reddish-orange coat striped with black, and is the largest of the cats. Populations occur in a wide range of habitats from the evergreen and monsoon forests of Indo-Malaysia to the mixed coniferous-deciduous woodlands of the Russian Far East and the mangrove swamps of the Sundarbans.13 In areas of prey abundance, such as Chitwan National Park in Nepal, territories range from 10 to 20km2 for females and 30 to 70km2 for males. In Russia, where the density of prey is much lower, territories vary in size from 200 to 400km2 for females and 800 to 1,000km2 for males.13 Tigers are typically solitary hunters and prey mainly on deer (Cervus, Axis spp) and wild pig (Sus spp). Both sexes become sexually mature at 3 to 4 years of age. The gestation period lasts from 93 to 111 days, with litter size averaging 2 to 3 cubs, and there are normally 2 to 3 years between litters.13

Eight tiger subspecies are recognised, only five of which are still living:
P.t. altaica (Temminck, 1844) Amur tiger

(also known as Siberian, Ussuri, Manchurian or North-East China tiger)

P.t. amoyensis (Hilzheimer, 1905) South China tiger (also known as Amoy tiger)

P.t. corbetti (Mazak, 1968) Indo-Chinese tiger

P.t. sumatrae (Pocock, 1929) Sumatran tiger

P.t. tigris (Linnaeus, 1758) Bengal tiger (also known as Indian tiger)
Three sub-species have become extinct in the last 50 years:
P.t. balica (Schwarz, 1912) Bali tiger

P.t. sondaica (Fitzinger, 1845) Javan tiger

P.t. virgata (Illiger, 1815) Caspian tiger

(also known as Turan or Hyrcanian tiger)


Less than a century ago, tigers occupied a range extending from eastern Turkey and the southern fringes of the Caspian Sea eastward across Central Asia as far as the Sea of Okhotsk, south through eastern China to the Indian sub-continent, and the whole of Southeast Asia as far as the Indonesian islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali. This former range has contracted and been fragmented dramatically in recent decades. Tigers now occur only in scattered populations in parts of the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Sumatra, and the Russian Far East, with a small number still surviving in China.8,12,14,19, 26

Range States: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Russian Federation, Thailand and Vietnam.

Table 1. The Status of the Tiger Panthera tigris (Linnaeus 1758) in May 1998

Table compiled by Peter Jackson, Chairman, Cat Specialist Group, World Conservation Union (IUCN) using reports from range countries. Most estimates are educated guesses, but censuses in Bhutan, Nepal and Russia provided more reliable numbers.

Tiger sub-species




Bengal (Indian) tiger P.t. tigris (Linnaeus 1758)








67 (adults)

81 (adults)










Myanmar, Western





93 (adults)

97 (adults)


Caspian (Turan/Hyrcanian) tiger P.t. virgata (Illiger 1815)

Formerly Afghanistan, Iran, Chinese and Russian Turkestan, Turkey

Extinct 1970s

Amur (Siberian/Ussuri/Manchurian/North-East China tiger



P.t. altaica (Temminck 1844)





North Korea





330 (adults)

371 (adults)


Javan tiger P.t. sondaica (Temminck 1844)

Extinct 1980s

Formerly Indonesia (Java)

South China (Amoy) tiger P.t. amoyensis (Hilzheimer 1905)




China, south

Bali tiger P.t. balica (Schwarz 1912)

Extinct 1940s

Formerly Indonesia (Bali)

Sumatran tiger P.t. sumatrae Pocock 1929




Indonesia (Sumatra)

Indo-Chinese tiger P.t. corbetti Mazák 1968


















Myanmar, eastern















ROUNDED TOTALS (nearest 500)



*NOTE: Figures In Table I for Bhutan, Nepal and Russia are for adult tigers counted. Tiger specialists consider such figures more realistic because many cubs are unlikely to survive to maturity.


Although there are no accurate recent estimates of the world tiger population, numbers are thought to have fallen by about 95 per cent since the turn of the century, down from perhaps 100,000 to the present estimate of 5,000 to 7,000.14 In the past 50 years, three subspecies – the Bali, Javan and Caspian tigers – have become extinct; the South China tiger is on the verge of extinction, and the Chinese population of the Siberian tiger is in a critical state, although there are 400-500 Siberian tigers in the neighbouring Russian Far East. 23,15,26

There is a lack of consensus amongst experts as to the most accurate method of estimating tiger populations, a task hampered by the species’ solitary nature, large territory size and often inaccessible habitat. It must be emphasized that most population figures (see Table1) are rough estimates only.14,15
Major population: With 927 tigers reported by a 1997 census, Madhya Pradesh State, India holds about one sixth of the remaining world population of tigers. Although the state has 22 wildlife sanctuaries and national parks (including five tiger reserves) containing tigers, poaching incidents continue; 50 such incidents were reported over a six month period in early 1995.16


Until the 1930s, hunting for sport was probably the main cause for the decline in tiger populations. Between 1940 and the late 1980s, the greatest threat was loss of habitat because of activities such as logging or mineral exploitation.7,14,17 Loss of their natural habitat often leads tigers to move into settled areas in search of food, where they are sometimes destroyed.20 For example, until the mid 1960s tigers were considered “an impediment to agricultural and pastoral progress” and their elimination was actively encouraged in China. Habitat destruction also has an indirect influence on tiger populations through a reduction in the availability of prey.20

In recent years, the illegal hunting of tigers for body parts utilized in traditional Oriental medicines has become a major problem.17 The prosperity of the Southeast Asian and East Asian economies since the 1970s has led to an ever-increasing demand for these medicines. There are also significant markets in Europe and North America, particularly amongst Chinese communities in the USA. In India alone, about 115 Bengal tigers were killed in known poaching incidents in 1995. The Wildlife Protection Society of India warned that this figure probably represented the tip of an iceberg, since most poaching is by definition clandestine and difficult to detect. Twelve tiger skins, 6 skeletons and 86.5kg of bones were seized by the Indian authorities between November 1998 and May 1999. By October 1999 an additional 12 tiger skins were seized. In January 2000, India reported major wildlife seizures in one month between mid-December 1999 and mid January 2000. The seizures included seven tiger skins, 120 leopard skins, 312 tiger claws (representing 18 dead tigers), and 18,000 leopard claws (representing a staggering 1,000 dead leopards).27
In Russia, the economic crisis combined with a relaxation of border controls and a ready access to the wildlife markets of China, South Korea and Japan, led to a dramatic increase in the level of poaching.15,17 In the early 1990s, between 60 and 70 tigers were killed every year. However, the establishment of anti-poaching brigades by the government in 1993 and 1994 with support from several conservation groups, including WWF, has paid off. There were fewer than 20 known cases of poaching in 1995 and 1996 respectively. In 1999, researchers in Sikhote Alin who had collared 19 tigers, reported that they were getting signals from only eight. The missing are thought to have been killed by humans. Three are known to have been poached on one of the reserve's roads, and two others (not collared) were hit by cars. In early 2000, 18 traps were removed by rangers in Primorski Krai in the Russian Far East, according to WWF-Russia.26 In 2000, WWF Indonesia reported that at least 66 tigers were poached in 1998 and 1999 in Sumatra, and that tiger parts are for sale in "shopping malls, supermarkets and in national newspaper advertisements".28
The loss of female reproductive potential and the disruption of the complex territorial system of tigers, which leads to low cub survival, means the impact goes beyond the actual number of tigers killed.16 A further threat is posed by the loss of genetic diversity caused by the reduction of population sizes, and the separation of these populations through habitat fragmentation, which restricts dispersal.13 Studies have shown that loss of genetic diversity within tiger populations leads to decreases in litter size, cub survival and male fertility.12,15,18


Overview: WWF is engaged in a multi-faceted programme of conservation and research activities, not only in tiger range states but also in countries involved in the illegal trading of tiger products. In the framework of its Global Tiger Strategy (see below), WWF is supporting anti-poaching campaigns, assisting the monitoring and control of illegal trade, strengthening tiger habitat protection, helping to reduce local conflicts between tigers and people, implementing training programmes for field researchers and protected area managers, and undertaking a broad range of general education and public awareness initiatives.
WWF’s Global Tiger Strategy: In September 2000, WWF conducted a workshop to reassess its tiger conservation priorities and is currently developing a new action plan. In 1996, WWF developed a Global Tiger Strategy whose overall plan of action was built around an international, interagency initiative to set priorities for tiger conservation. Using carefully selected criteria, a total of 159 tiger habitat areas, termed Tiger Conservation Units (TCUs) were identified and ranked at four levels in order of importance. The 25 top-ranked TCUs are considered to be those places where tigers stand the best chance of surviving naturally in the wild. The strategy thus identifies priorities for action and clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the WWF family in supporting the efforts of range states to save the tiger from extinction.
Financial Support: During the 2000 Financial Year, WWF spent more than US$4million on projects aimed specifically at tiger conservation, or on wider projects from which tigers are expected to benefit significantly.
Making CITES Work: During the 1990s, WWF increased its financial support for TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring programme of WWF and IUCN, which has been able to significantly extend its operations in Asia (see below). WWF also provides funds directly to law enforcement agencies enabling them to strengthen implementation of CITES regulations, and is placing pressure on the governments to stop the illegal trade in tiger parts. WWF and TRAFFIC are exploring culturally sensitive ways to discourage consumption of tiger derivatives for medicinal purposes and to encourage the use of effective substitutes. In 1994, WWF and TRAFFIC worked closely with tiger range and consuming states to broker an unprecedented agreement for halting the trade. This agreement was unanimously adopted by the 9th CITES Conference of the Parties in Fort Lauderdale, USA. Three years later, however, the 10th Conference (Harare, Zimbabwe) noted with alarm that tiger products were still being used in many countries and unanimously adopted a resolution calling on all Parties to strengthen legislation and introduce penalties to deter illegal trade. As part of its Year for the Tiger campaign, WWF collaborated with CITES and TRAFFIC in supporting and organizing a series of workshops in the border areas of Indochina and the Russian Far East where illegal wildlife trade has been particularly acute. WWF is also, in cooperation with TRAFFIC East Asia, producing and distributing materials in the languages of tiger range and consuming states. For example, Chinese, Thai and Japanese versions of WWF’s Species Status Report on the Tiger, Wanted Alive: Tigers in the Wild, have been produced.
The TRAFFIC Network: Despite a marked fall in the consumption of tiger-bone medicines in former major consuming States in the late 1990s, there is little evidence of a major reduction in poaching of tigers in the wild. A report released by TRAFFIC in 2000, revealed that tiger parts in traditional Asian medicine continues to be a threat to wild tigers, with the trade in some markets shifting to skins and other products beside bone. The report, 'Far From A Cure: The Tiger Trade Revisited', urged tiger range states, especially key countries in Southeast Asia, to strictly enforce trade bans, improve anti-poaching capacity, develop specialized enforcement units for undercover investigations and provide incentives against commercial tiger poaching.
In 1999, TRAFFIC established an office in Vietnam and strengthened its activities in Indonesia, two countries in Southeast Asia where trade in tiger bone and other parts has increased over the past few years. In 1995, WWF supported the establishment of a TRAFFIC office in Russia to investigate the largely uncontrolled wildlife trade there. TRAFFIC research indicated that Russia had become one of the biggest suppliers to the international medicinal trade in endangered species. Exports, predominantly to East Asia, include tiger skins and bones. Investigators also found tiger products on sale in Russia’s domestic markets. WWF also supported the establishment, in 1992 and 1994 respectively, of regional TRAFFIC offices for East Asia (based in Hong Kong) and Southeast Asia (based in Malaysia). In India, TRAFFIC investigations in 1995 led to numerous seizures of tiger bones and skins, the arrest of an important smuggling gang, and the uncovering of illicit trade routes between India, Nepal, Bhutan and East Asia. In 1993, TRAFFIC India masterminded an operation that resulted in the seizure of nearly 500kg of tiger bones in New Delhi – an event that shook the world and convinced the conservation community that the tiger was on the path to extinction.
Working with the Tradional Chinese Medicine community: In 1998, to mark the WWF Year for the Tiger, WWF-US and TRAFFIC released reports revealing that more than half of the retail outlets surveyed in Chinese districts of North American cities sold medicines labelled as containing tiger parts and derivatives of other endangered species. WWF is campaigning for strengthened national legislation to ban imports and sales of these medicines in North America. A new umbrella organization, the Chinese Association for World Wildlife Conservation has been established to take forward community efforts for the conservation of tigers and other endangered species.
Recognizing that enforcement action will not, on its own, halt illegal wildlife trade, WWF worked together with the Chinese government and the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine to organize a symposium entitled ‘Healthy People, Healthy Planet: An International Conference on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Wildlife Conservation’. Held in Beijing from 30 October to 1 November 1999, the symposium brought together TCM practitioners and researchers, international wildlife experts and government officials, who agreed to work together to tackle the threat to endangered species. In a related initiative, WWF and the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine undertook an outreach and education programme within the TCM community in San Francisco, USA, urging consumers and retailers not to buy or sell TCM products which claim to contain derivatives of endangered species. WWF has also published a series of Chinese-language newsletters aimed at the TCM community.
IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group: Each year WWF provides support to the Cat Specialist Group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC). Additional WWF funding enabled the Cat Specialist Group to publish a Cat Action Plan in 1996. This Action Plan reviews the status and conservation requirements for tigers and other species of wild cat and serves as a reference document for government officials, protected area managers, research scientists and NGOs. The Group publishes a biannual newsletter, Cat News, which frequently carries articles on tiger research and conservation. The Cat Specialist Group's website is: http//lynx.uio/catfolk and Cat News may be found at their web address.
Global Tiger Forum:9 The Millenium Tiger Conference, held in India in March 1999, was followed by a meeting of the Global Tiger Forum, a Regional Agreement initiated in 1994 at a gathering of 11 of the 14 tiger range states. The Forum, which WWF played an active role in establishing, aims to eliminate illegal trade in tiger parts, increase the area of protected tiger habitat and promote training, awareness building and scientific research. At the March 1999 meeting, Bangladesh announced its ratification, bringing the total number of ratifications by tiger range states to five (Bhutan, India, Myanmar and Vietnam had already ratified), thereby triggering the agreement’s entry into force.25 WWF became the first, and to date, only, NGO member of the Global Tiger Forum.
Tiger Emergency Fund (TEF): The TEF, set up by WWF and IUCN, is an emergency-funding mechanism designed and managed for the rapid disbursement of small grants ( up to US$ 10,000 per project) to address urgent and unforeseen threats to tiger populations in the wild. Project applications must come from tiger range states, and those submitted by individuals and NGOs must be endorsed by the relevant national or regional wildlife authority and by the local office of WWF, IUCN or TRAFFIC. Since its inception, the TEF has supported some 50 projects in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Russia and Vietnam. Kaziranga National Park in Assam, north-east India received TEF funding in the wake of disastrous monsoon flooding in 1998. The funds enabled purchase of essential equipment for protection of displaced tigers and their prey species, and assisted with rebuilding the park’s infrastructure. In 2001, TEF funds were made available to Corbett National Park authorities to counter an upsurge in wildlife poaching in the tiger reserve. TEF allocations were made for fighting forest fires threatening the habitat of the Amur tiger in the Russian Far East. Although fires occur in the area on an annual basis, there was a major outbreak in October 1998 when electrical storms followed a period of drought. Further serious fires occurred in May and July 1999. The Amur tiger has also benefited from TEF funding to set up anti-poaching units.

Bangladesh: One of the world’s largest-remaining population of Bengal tigers is thought to exist in the Sundarbans, an extensive area of mangrove forest in the Ganges - Brahmaputra delta, straddling the border between Bangladesh and India. A recent estimate put the number of tigers in the Bangladesh Sundarbans at approximately 350 individuals, with a further 200-300 individuals on the Indian side of the border, but some scientists believe these estimates to be highly exaggerated. The rich natural resources of the region also provide a livelihood for hundreds of thousands of people and will continue to do so if managed sustainably. However, pressure from poaching, overfishing, wood cutting and illegal trade has increased significantly in recent years, leading to fears for the future of tigers and other endangered wildlife. WWF is working with the government of Bangladesh to assess the current situation and to make recommendations for strengthening tiger protection. A WWF workshop to strengthen technical cooperation between Bangladeshi tiger experts and their Indian counterparts for tiger conservation in the Sunderbans is scheduled for 2001.
Bhutan: The forested Himalayan foothills and mountains of Bhutan are thought to hold around 70 to 80 adult Bengal tigers, forming (with neighbouring countries) part of the world’s third most-important area of uninterrupted tiger distribution. In 1999, the government, based on WWF-funded surveys, developed a Tiger Conservation Strategy to promote research and monitoring, training of wildlife conservation staff, identification of corridors to link protected areas, increased government support for protected areas, strengthened anti-poaching measures, greater public awareness, and enhanced cooperation with other tiger range states. WWF is also providing financial support to the Department of Forestry Services (formerly Forestry Services Division) of Bhutan to tackle poaching and illegal wildlife trade. A network of biological corridors has been declared for protection. This network links all key tiger-holding protected areas. Finally, with WWF funding a project is under way to develop a conservation management plan for Thrumshing La National Park -- the centerpiece of Bhutan's tiger distribution.
Cambodia: Biologists on a training exercise in Cambodia in 2000 photographed something never before captured on film there: wild, living tigers, along with a gallery of other rare and threatened species. Using automatic infrared triggered cameras set along suspected wildlife paths, researchers led by the Bronx Zoo based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and WWF, confirmed the continued presence not only tigers, but also leopards, clouded leopards, marbled cats, sun bears, Asian elephants, dholes (Asian wild dogs), and two species of wild cattle: gaur and banteng. WCS and WWF have been training local Cambodians in wildlife conservation methods since 1998. Most of these recent surveys were carried out by Cambodians who received training in the WCS/WWF program. Researchers discovered that more conventional wildlife detection methods such as track and sign surveys yielded as much data on the diversity of wildlife in Cambodia as more modern, technically advanced methods such as remote camera placement. Although extensive areas of suitable forest habitat remain in Cambodia, relatively little is known about the country’s population of Indo-Chinese tigers. In 1995 it was estimated that tigers were disappearing from the wild at a rate of more than 15 per month, with most of these being sold.11.Cambodia became a Contracting Party to CITES in 1997, but enforcement of the convention has been hampered by political instability – as have other conservation measures. WWF is funding development of a five-year conservation management plan for Virachay National Park, which is located in the extreme north-east of Cambodia and adjoins other protected areas in neighbouring Lao PDR and Vietnam, forming a high priority Tiger Conservation Unit within WWF’s Global Tiger Strategy. The park management plan has been drawn up in the context of a wider watershed protection project for Cambodia’s Rattanakiri Province, aimed at providing benefits for wildlife and local people.
India: Recognizing the seriousness of the decline in its tiger population, India was at the forefront of conservation efforts in the early 1970s when, in cooperation with WWF, the government launched ‘Project Tiger’ with the aim of creating a network of tiger reserves throughout the country. WWF pledged US$ one million to support the programme. By the late 1980s, the number of Bengal tigers was estimated to have more than doubled, with around 4,300 in 1989, compared with just 1,800 when Project Tiger began. However, at the same time as conservationists were hailing this apparent success, a dramatic increase in poaching for bones and other parts for traditional Oriental medicines was already having serious effects. By 1997, an official census put the national tiger population at no more than 3,750. The Director of Project Tiger had earlier reported that numbers might have fallen below 3,000.
In response to this alarming trend, Project Tiger was revitalized in 1997, with agreement on a package of new actions, including: establishment of additional tiger reserves, measures to halt or modify potentially damaging developments in or around tiger reserves, identification of important corridors linking areas of tiger habitat, provision of increased funding, and creation of a new unit to tackle illegal trade. In 1998, the 25th Anniversary of the founding of Project Tiger, the Indian government significantly increased its financial backing, allocating some US$11 million for tiger conservation. The additional funds will enable two new tiger reserves to be established, bringing the national total to 25, with more planned. A three-day Millennium Tiger Conference, was organised by the government of India in March 1999 to mark the 25th anniversary of Project Tiger and to assess the effectiveness of tiger conservation efforts to date. The conference was attended by Environment Ministers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, Vietnam and the United Kingdom. India's Vice-President called for a “new mental attitude” towards tiger conservation and a redoubled global effort.
In a complementary move to the reinforcement of Project Tiger, WWF launched its own ‘Tiger Conservation Programme’, a new effort by the WWF Network to address the tiger conservation crisis in the Indian sub-continent. Designed as a regional implementation of the WWF Global Tiger Strategy, the Tiger Conservation Programme (TCP) builds on many years of work by WWF-India and has five key components: supporting government efforts to strengthen management of Project Tiger Reserves and other key protected areas; assessing and monitoring tiger habitat; strengthening political will and increasing public awareness; providing a sustainable financial basis for tiger conservation; and promoting international cooperation on tiger conservation within the Indian subcontinent.
Under the first component, 19 protected areas have received TCP support, mainly for the purchase of equipment. For example, the newly-created Nameri National Park in Assam was provided with funding for vehicles, boats, radio sets, and other essential equipment, enabling the park staff to undertake regular patrols and management activities.
In some states of India, the TCP also introduced a successful system of payments to compensate local people whose cattle are killed by tigers in the vicinity of protected areas. The scheme aims to reduce instances of tigers being killed by villagers – usually through poisoning – in retaliation for cattle losses. The September 1999 issue of Tiger Update, the TCP newsletter, reported that some 1,225 cattle kills were compensated between January 1998 and September 1999. Incidents of tiger poisoning have fallen dramatically in areas where the scheme is operating, but remain at disturbing levels elsewhere. The TCP has also provided funds for the establishment of incentive programmes to reward protected areas staff and members of the public for actions or information leading to the prosecution of poachers and illegal wildlife traders. In this way, WWF hopes to neutralise the financial imperative that currently tempts some local people to assist poachers. TCP is also working to strengthen the capacity of TRAFFIC India, particularly in northern parts of the country where illegal trade in tiger parts continues to be rife.
Indonesia: Through supporting establishment of TRAFFIC Indonesia and implementation of a project to evaluate the extent and nature of tiger poaching and illegal trading of tiger parts and products, WWF is tackling one of the most immediate threats to the Sumatran tiger, illegal killing. Habitat loss is equally threatening; illegal logging and forest fires are also taking a serious toll on the tiger's dwindling range.29
There may be no more than 500 Sumatran tigers remaining in the wild, down from around 1,000 in the 1980s. The largest numbers occurr within the large Gunung Leuser and Kerinci-Seblat National Parks, which has been particularly hard hit by agricutlural conversion, logging concessions, illegal felling and fire damange. 29 Designated in 1994, Kerinci-Seblat is the largest protected area in Sumatra, covering almost 1.4 million km2. As a result of its size and altitudinal range (200-3,886m), Kerinci-Seblat supports a remarkable level of biodiversity, and includes some of the finest stretches of closed canopy forests in Indonesia. Since 1995, WWF has supported a strategy of integrated conservation and development, aiming to overcome land-use conflicts arising from the presence of almost 300,000 people in an enclave of the national park. The project’s objectives are to demarcate boundaries in critical areas, identify points of land/resource-use conflict along these boundaries, and to develop procedures for conflict resolution, taking into account the complex political and social realities of the park.
WWF is also active in the eastern lowlands of Sumatra in Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, where it has been operating community-based conservation projects for several years. WWF also continues work in Way Kambas and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Parks, mainly under its AREAS (Asian Rhino and Elephant Action Strategy) Projects.

Malaysia: Indo-Chinese tigers are widely distributed in peninsular Malaysia, with the overall population estimated to be around 500. One of the first countries to draft a National Tiger Action Plan (in 1995), Malaysia presented an updated version of the Plan at an international conference held in Dallas, USA to mark 1998 as the ‘Year of the Tiger’. The Malaysian Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), the Wildlife Conservation Society, the University of Florida and WWF-Malysia are working in partnership to support the Action Plan’s objectives for research, capacity building and raising of awareness amongst local communities and the general public. Camera-trapping is being used to establish relationships between tiger presence and abundance with prey diversity and density. Important areas being surveyed include Belum Forest Reserve and Taman Negara. At the latter site, partial funding from WWF is enabling a post graduate student of the University of Florida to conduct tiger research. An education and public awareness programme, being undertaken jointly by DWNP and WWF-Malaysia, includes implementation of a model project to mitigate tiger-human conflicts in oil palm plantations through community-based dialogue and action. A recent stakeholders’ workshop resulted in the agreement on an action plan laid out by WWF-Malaysia on how best to address livestock predation by tigers. The lessons learnt from this model project will be applied to other parts of the country where similar problems have arisen.
Nepal: A National Tiger Action Plan has been prepared by the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, in cooperation with WWF and other conservation organizations. With the aim of protecting Nepal’s diminishing populations of Bengal tigers (estimated to be about 200 individuals) and rhinos, WWF is working in partnership with the Nepalese authorities, the Wildlife Watch Group and TRAFFIC to combat the illegal trade in wildlife. In particular, action has been taken to strengthen existing anti-poaching units, to establish several new units, and to set up tiger and rhino monitoring schemes in Royal Bardia and Chitwan National Parks, and Parsa and Royal Shukla Phanta Wildlife Reserves. The anti-poaching units have been effective in capturing and prosecuting poachers and have seized tiger bones and skins. Staff from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation have been trained in survey and monitoring techniques, whilst training for police and customs officials has focused on identification of illegal wildlife products and enforcement of legislation. An international symposium on the Bengal tiger was hosted in Chitwan National Park in December 1998. Transboundary technical contacts between Nepalese and Indian protected area managers had already been enhanced as the result of a bilateral meeting held in Kathmandu in January 1997. An integrated species conservation project for the Bengal tiger, greater one-horned rhinoceros, and Asian elephant started in July 2000, and is being carried out as a part of the Western Terai-Churia Conservation Programme. See WWF Nepal's website at http://www.wwfnepal.org.np/
Russia: The Amur (or Siberian) Tiger has its last stronghold in the Far East of Russia, where between 330 and 370 adults were estimated in 1998 to occur in the Primorye and southern Khabarovsk regions. WWF is working with the Federal and Regional authorities, research institutes, NGOs and international donors to conserve the rich biological diversity of the region, with special emphasis on tigers and their habitat. Funding from WWF helped to establish two new protected areas in 1998, whilst the status of a third protected area was upgraded. Attention is now turning to establishment of corridors to link these protected areas. In 1999 a new 54,000 ha wildlife reserve was created in the northernmost part of the range of the Siberian tiger. The reserve is named Zakaznik (wildlife Refuge) Mopay. Intensive anti-poaching operations, funded in part by WWF, together with tighter border controls, appear to have been extremely effective, with a significant decline in known instances of poaching since the early ‘90s. However, given the serious economic situation, a resurgence in hunting pressure cannot be excluded. In September 1998, WWF’s Russia Programme Office hosted a workshop on CITES enforcement in the Russian Far East and North East Asia in general. Significant outreach efforts have also been made, with education and public awareness campaigns targeting school groups, visitors to protected areas and the media. Forest fires have recently posed a serious threat to Amur tiger habitat, with serious outbreaks in 1998 and 1999. Grants from WWF’s Tiger Emergency Fund were instrumental in strengthening local efforts to tackle these and future forest fires.
Thailand: The National Tiger Action Plan, published in 1998, puts the number of Indo-Chinese tigers in Thailand at 500, although a 1993 expert estimate put the figure at no more than 250. As part of its activities to mark 1998 as the Year for the Tiger, WWF made raising public awareness of the tiger’s plight its number one priority. A WWF ‘Tiger Roadshow’ visited schools, universities, workplaces and shopping centres, whilst a Tiger Symposium and media event brought together over 100 educational institutions, 26 NGOs, 50 journalists and members of the public. On National Wildlife Day (26 December), WWF presented a 230,000-signature ‘Tiger Petition’ to the government, along with the recommendations of the Tiger Symposium. WWF’s field efforts are focusing on two Tiger Conservation Units – Huai Kha Khaeng and Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuaries – identified for priority action in the 1996 Global Tiger Strategy. In both areas, WWF is focusing on learning more about the distribution and movements of tigers, as well as the nature and extent of forest resource use by local people. Forestry department staff are being given training to conduct research on these issues, with the aim of developing appropriate management strategies. As part of its long-term support to Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, WWF has recently funded the establishment of a small visitor centre, together with development of educational and awareness-raising materials.
Vietnam: The presence of Indo-Chinese tigers has been confirmed in several of Vietnam’s protected areas, and a National Action Plan has been drafted. This builds on the results of the first regional tiger conservation workshop, organized in 1995 by WWF in conjunction with the Ministry of Forestry and the IUCN Cat Specialist Group. WWF is currently supporting survey and habitat conservation work in several of the key protected areas where tigers occur; for example, in Chu Mom Ray Nature Reserve, part of a priority Tiger Conservation Unit where the borders of Vietnam, Cambodia and Lao PDR meet. Particular effort is going into poaching prevention in western Thua Thien-Hue Province (central Vietnam), where WWF is implementing education and public awareness initiatives in partnership with the provincial Forest Protection Department. Growing human pressure has caused a serious decline in tiger numbers in recent decades, and it is hoped that an emphasis on fostering community guardianship can help reverse this trend. Specific activities include showing videos on tigers and their conservation; organizing ‘forestry knowledge’ contests; producing posters, booklets and T-shirts; making a ‘green’ radio programme; and setting up local networks of interested people.


An initiative by the US National Zoo, IUCN Captive Breeding Specialist group and a number of other North American scientific organizations has resulted in the development of an Action Plan for the creation of a Tiger Genome Resource Bank. This is intended to assist in the maintenance of the genetic diversity of both captive and wild tiger populations, so reducing the deleterious effects of inbreeding.6 A comprehensive captive breeding scheme is in operation incorporating zoological institutions world wide. Details of this scheme are recorded each year in a Tiger Studbook (see Table 2).19

Table 2. Numbers of tigers held in captivity (studbook registrations) at 31 December 1997


Male/female numbers
Total zoo population

P.t. tigris



P.t. altaica



P.t. amoyensis



P.t. sumatrae



P.t. corbetti






Source: Muller, P. and Sonntag, K. 1998.19


  1. Anon. 1984. Project Tiger 1973-1983. Department of Environment, Government of India.

  2. Anon. 1990. Results of Tiger Census in India. In Cat News 13: 22.

  3. Anon. 1992. Tigers radio-collared in the Far East. In Cat News 17: 7.

  4. Anon. 1993. New Reserve in India. In Cat News 18: 10.

  5. Anon. 1993. Tiger Conservation Moves Again to Centre Stage. In Cat News 18: 2-3.

  6. Anon. 1993. Tiger Genome Resource Bank Planned. In Cat News 17: 7-8.

  7. Anon. 1994. Action Plan to save the Siberian Tiger. In Cat News 21: 4-7.

  8. Anon. 1994. India’s 1993 Census – 3750 Tigers. In Cat News 21: 9.

  9. Anon. 1994. Range Countries Set Up Global Tiger Forum. In Cat News 20: 2-3.

  10. Anon. 1994. US Imposes Trade Sanctions on Taiwan and Warns China. In Cat News 20: 2.

  11. Kemf, E. 1995. The Forgotten Tigers of Indochina. WWF-UK, Godalming, UK.

  12. Anon. 1995. Sino-Indian Protocol on Tiger Conservation. In Cat News 22: 3-4.

  13. Nowell, K. and Jackson, P. 1996. Wild Cats: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

  14. Jackson P. 1993. Editorial. The end of complacency. In Cat News 18:1.

Jackson, P. 1999. The Status of the Tiger in 1998 and Threats to its future. In Seidensticker, J., Christie, S, and Jackson, P. Riding the Tiger: Tiger Conservation in Human-dominated Landscapes. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, UK.

  1. Jackson, P. 1995. The Plight of the Tiger: Press Statement. In Cat News 22: 2-3.

  2. Kemf, E and Jackson P. 1999. Wanted alive! Tigers in the Wild. WWF Species Status Report. WWF International, Gland, Switzerland.

  3. Mills, J A and Jackson, P. 1994. Killed for a Cure: A review of the worldwide trade in tiger bone. TRAFFIC International, Cambridge, UK.

  4. Muller, P and Sonntag, K. 1998. 1998 International Tiger Studbook. Zoologischer Garten, Leipzig, Germany.

  5. Prynn, D. 1993. Tigers in the Russian Far East face renewed dangers. In Oryx 27(3): 130-131.

  6. Smith, J L D and McDougal, C. 1991. The contribution of variance in lifetime reproduction to effective population size in tigers. In Conservation Biology 5(4): 484-490.

  7. Thornback, J. 1978. The Red Data Book Vol. 1. IUCN, Morges, Switzerland.

  8. Anon. 1994. Hopes of rediscovering the Javan Tiger fade. In Cat News 21: 12-13.

  9. Toyne, P and Hoyle, D. 1998. Tiger Status Report: 1998 – The Year for the Tiger.

  10. Anon. 1999. Millenium Tiger Conference in India. In Cat News 30: 2-3.

  11. Nowell, K, Hean, S, Weiler, H and Smith, J L D. 1999. National Status Survey for Tigers in Cambodia. In Cat News 30: 4-8.

26. Baogang, S, Zhang, E, Miquelle, D. 1999, Siberian Tigers on Brink of Extinction in China, In Cat News, 30:2.

27. Sharma, Devinder, New Trend in Wildlife Crime: Poachers Target Indian Leopards, Environment News Service, New Delhi, India, January 28, 2000.

28. Foead, N. 2000. Country Reports, WWF Global Tiger Conservation Strategy Workshop, 4-8, September, 2000. Unpublished proceedings, WWF International, Gland, Switzerland.

29. van Schaik, C.P, Monk, K and Robertson, J. M. 2001. Dramatic Declines in Orang-utan Numbers in the Leuser Ecosystem, Northern Sumatra, Oryx, 35 (1), January 2001, Cambridge, U.K.

Sources for Table 1:

1. Jalil, S M. 1998. Bengal tiger in Bangladesh. Unpubl. Report to Year of the Tiger Conference, Dallas, US.

2. McDougal, C, and Tshering, K. 1998. Tiger Conservation Strategy for the Kingdom of Bhutan. Min. of Agriculture/WWF, Thimpu.

3. Wang Wei. 1998. Status of tigers in China and conservation strategies. Unpubl. report to Year of the Tiger Conference, Dallas, US.
4a.Thapar, V. 1994. pers. comm.
4b.Project Tiger. 1993. All India Tiger Census Report. Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi. IN.
5. Uga, U, and Thang, A. 1998. Review and revision of the National Tiger Action Plan (1996) of Myanmar. Unpubl. Report to Year of the Tiger Conference, Dallas, US .
6. Anon. 1997. Tiger Action Plan for the Kingdom of Nepal. Unpubl. report to Year of the Tiger Conference, Dallas, US.
7. Pak U-Il. 1994. in litt.
8. Matyushkin, E N, Pikunov, D G, Dunishenko, Y M, Miquelle, D G, Nikolaev, I N, Smirnov, E N, Salkina, G, Abramov, V K, Basylnikov, V Yudin, V G, and Korkishko, V G. 1996. Numbers, distribution, and habitat status of the Amur tiger in the Russian Far East: Express Report. USAID Russian Far East Environmental Policy and Technology Project Report. Vladivostok, RU (in Russian and English).
9. Wartaputra, S, Soemarna, K, Ramono, W, Manangsang, J, and Tilson, R. 1994. Indonesian Sumatran Tiger Conservation Strategy. Directorate-General of Forest Protection & Nature Conservation, Djakarta, ID.
10. Samith, C, Sophana, V, Vuthy, L and Rotha, K S. 1995. Tiger and prey species. Report presented at training course, International Centre for Conservation of Biology, Lanchang, MY.
11. Jasmi bin Abdul. 1998. The distribution & management of the Malayan tiger in Peninsular Malaysia. Abstract presented at Year of theTiger Conference, Dallas, US.
12a Rabinowitz, A. 1993. Estimating the Indochinese tiger population in Thailand. Biological Conservation 65 (213-217).
12b Anon. 1998. Thailand's tiger action plan. Report presented to Year of the Tiger Conference, Dallas, US.
13. Bao, T C, Nhat, P, Dang, N X , Phu, T K , Hoi, N V, Thanh, V N, Luong, L V, Thank, and NH, Nguyen, D D. 1995. Tiger Conservation in Vietnam: Status and problems. Report presented at training course, International Centre for Conservation of Biology, Lanchang, MY.
Useful websites are: Tiger Information Center at http://www.5tigers.org and Wildlife Conservation Society at http://www.wcs.org

WCMC and WWF International. March 2001

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